Covid 19 Guidance

Guidance for licensed businesses reopening following the Covid19 lockdown




Torrridge District Council Revised Guidance - updated 15 July 2020

The aim of this guidance is to clarify questions raised from the trade where the Government Guidance was ambiguous and needed local clarification.

It is intended to offer support to venues re-opening after the recent Covid-19 lockdown and includes essential information which should be followed.

Please read the guidance here: pdf icon TDC reopening guide v3 [224kb]


Details of the Eat out to help out scheme - updated 15 July 2020

Click on the links below to find out more information

HMRC invites hospitality industry to register for Eat Out to Help Out

Register your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme: promotional materials


Revised Guidance on maintain records of customers and visitors to support NHS test and trace - updated 3 July 2020

The following information should be collected:

  • customers and visitors
    • the name of the customer or visitor. If there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the 'lead member' of the group and the number of people in the group
    • a contact phone number for each customer or visitor, or for the lead member of a group of people
    • date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure time



Additional Guidance for premises reopening - updated 2 July 2020

The aim of this guidance is to clarify questions raised from the trade where the Government Guidance was ambiguous and needed local clarification.

It is intended to offer support to venues re-opening after the recent Covid-19 lockdown and includes essential information which should be followed.


How to prepare for reopening your business - updated 25 June 2020

We hope that this guide will assist you in finding the majority of the information that you require to reopen in an easy to use format. However please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information or advice. 

The time spent writing your risk assessments and planning for reopening will help ensure that you and your staff provide the confidence to your customers that your venue is a safe, vibrant and welcoming place to enjoy.

The official government guidance has been released. The latest government guidance notes are located at www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19. You can stay up to date with GOV.UK update by https://www.gov.uk/email-signup?topic=/coronavirus-taxon/businesses-and-self-employed-people

The toolkit below will assist you with the majority of controls that you will need to consider before reopening and we recommend you start to complete these documents now to give you plenty of time to plan and prepare.


Is there any guidance to help me prepare for reopening?

Please refer to the Covid-19 toolkit, which has been produced by the Devon Local Authorities. The toolkit brings together a number of resources to help guide you through the main considerations for restarting your business safely. This toolkit (BBFA toolkit) will be updated regularly following the latest government advice and can be found at



As a food/drink business we would recommend you also refer to the food business guidance in section 6 which provide links to the Food Standards Agency web page. There is useful information and re-opening checklists that cover pest control and also changes to your business model if you are planning to add takeaways as part of your offer.

Section 3 of the toolkit covers information about the things to consider when reopening your buildings for the first time since you closed at the end of March. There are a number of documents which covers the building services e.g. waste management, pest control, legionella, water and gas supplies, fire safety etc. This will assist you in preparing to reopen your business to ensure it is safe to reopen for your staff and customers. 

Please also refer to the attached Ice Machine and Soda Gun guidance and ensure you thoroughly clean through your beer lines before reopening. 


I don't know where to start regarding completing Risk Assessments for Covid-19 and reopening?

Everything you need is included in the toolkit above. If the toolkit doesn't include everything you need then please contact us at licensing@torridge.gov.uk


Training of staff

Ensure you arrange training/briefing sessions with your staff so that they fully understand the risk assessments and the new procedures before opening. Walk through scenarios with your staff to identify any gaps in your risk assessments and safe systems of work. This will also help staff to be confident when dealing with any customer concerns and reassure the public that your business is a safe place to visit. The 'Talking with your workers' HSE document may help you with this (https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/assets/docs/talking-with-your-workers.pdf).

Ensure your staff are also familiar with your premises licence and the conditions attached to your licence. Please ensure you are able to comply with your licence conditions with your new model of operation. 


Early engagement with your local community

The public will be used to their surrounding area being very quiet since the end of March. It is therefore vital to keep your neighbouring residents on board to support you with reopening.   We hope that the community will welcome the reopening of your premises and support you with any changes that you need to make.  Working with your neighbours/local community well ahead of reopening will enable you to share details of your proposed operational changes and will help to reduce any negative impact such as increased noise from outside areas and react quickly to any concerns.  You may wish to supply a direct contact number for nearby residents so that they can contact you if they have any issues. 


How do I dispose of any waste beer?

If large volumes of beer are poured down the drain then it may injure south west waters sewers and they could take formal action under section 111 of the Water Industry Act.

South West Water have asked you to contact them at TradeEffluent@southwestwater.co.uk providing your contact details and premises address with a description of how you intend to dispose of the waste beer and why?   They would like to know what product/s you wish to dispose of and how many litres.

The Trade Effluent team will then decide if the amounts will cause issues and possibly effect the waste treatment plants and advise how to dispose of this waste.


Outside areas

Off sales

  • You will need to ensure your licence includes off sales - if it does not then you will need to apply for a minor variation or a full variation depending on whether this will be temporary or permanent. You will need to update your site plan if there is a change to the licensed area of the plan contained on your premises licence. For further information, please contact us at licensing@torridge.gov.uk

    Ensure you check your public liability insurance covers you especially if you intend to use different outside areas.

  • If you are using areas of land that is not owned by you then you will need to ensure you have the correct permission/insurances and you will also need to check if the area is within a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO). You must consider if the use of this area will have any negative effect on the four licensing objectives and any safety implications need to be identified e.g. if you need to cross the road to access these areas. Please ensure this is included within your risk assessments and appropriate controls implemented prior to reopening.


Use of Private Car Parks

  • If you have a large car park and wish to use part of this for outdoor seating then you will need to ensure you keep traffic and the public completely separate at all times. This must be included in your health and safety risk assessment (see Toolkit for Risk assessment templates).

  • A number of fatalities are caused each year by pedestrians being struck by vehicles and it is important to have suitable controls in place to keep vehicles away from your customer seating areas.


Public Nuisance

  • Please ensure you monitor your outside areas to ensure any noise from this area does not cause a noise nuisance to nearby residential properties. Walk around the area at various times to check if the noise is audible near these areas.

  • It is recommended that outside seating is not encouraged after 9pm if you have nearby residential properties.

  • Encourage your customers to respect your neighbours - you may wish to display a poster or something similar.

  • Avoid having music or entertainment in the garden if you have nearby neighbours. If you do plan to have music, please contact your neighbours and consider restricting the music to 2 hours and once or twice a week depending on the location. Live music is currently not permitted and recorded music should not be played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.

  • If you serve any type of food, ensure there are adequate bins for your customers to dispose of their waste.



  • You will need to consider how you ensure social distancing is maintained during any music/entertainment. Customers may start to dance/move nearer to hear the entertainment and this will need to be closely monitored. You may need additional members of staff to monitor this.


Tables and Chairs

  • It is recommended that you restrict outside areas to seated only (no standing) to help maintain social distancing.

  • Tables and chairs should be planned and managed to maintain social distancing including being able to access seats for wheelchairs/push chairs whilst maintaining social distancing guidelines.

  • These need to be frequently cleaned with suitable detergents/sanitisers.


Use of pavements/outside tables and chairs


Planning Restrictions

Check for any planning restrictions which might need to be amended as a result of changes you wish to make. This could relate to the use of areas, trading hours or operational conditions. Here are some areas to think about but please contact planning for further advice if needed:

  • If you are considering using an area for customers that has been previously used as a non customer part of the premises e.g. storage/staff area/car park, then while change of use may not be required, you will still need to consider if it is needed. If the area can be said to be part of the planning unit then it could be used for any purpose incidental to the primary use. Exceptions would be restrictive conditions that may require retention of all parking spaces or no outside customer area (for amenity reasons). In the current climate, it may be straightforward to obtain a temporary permission.

  • While mobile bars would not require planning consent unless left in a fixed place, planning consent may be required for any fixed structure. You will also need to licence the use of the bar either by way of a Temporary Events Notice (TENs) or variation.

  • If you want to have an outdoor bar/marquee/structure/fixed furniture outside on your land for more than 28 days you may need planning consent. You must also consider the impact of any new street furniture or advertising.

For further information the planning department can be contacted at planningsupport@torridge.gov.uk


Access to Toilets

  • Occupancy of toilets need to be carefully managed to avoid crowding and to allow for social distancing. Ideally a member of staff should be appointment to manage these areas and queuing systems should be clearly defined to maintain distancing and to keep those entering/leaving coming too close.

  • Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.

  • Posters are available to download from www.who.int/gpsc/5may/resources/posters/en/

  • Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards.

  • Providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations in addition to washrooms.

  • Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible.

  • Enhancing cleaning for busy areas.

  • Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.

  • Providing hand drying facilities - either paper towels or electrical driers.



  • Check that your CCTV is working

  • You will need to review your security arrangements and ensure you comply with the requirements of your licence - please review your licensing conditions.

  • Ensure any door staff are trained/fully briefed on your new Covid-19 controls and how the premises will be operating to ensure they can explain this to your customers and can answer any of their questions.


How can I get financial help for my business?

Please refer to the Businesses Support section on the Council's webpage https://www.torridge.gov.uk/article/18369/Business-Support


For further information please contact us:

Torridge District Council Licensing Team

E: licensing@torridge.gov.uk


Police Licensing Team:

E: Licensing.team@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk